England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been preparing with intensity for the four-match Test series in South Africa, which starts on December 26 at Centurion. The England team has been battling with a stomach bug that has felled their main bowlers, while Stokes also recovered from a knee injury that saw him not balling in the second Test against New Zealand.
However, there is a chance that Stokes may not play in the first Test match against South Africa, as he missed a crucial training session on Christmas Eve, as his father Gerard fell seriously ill and has been admitted to a medical facility in Johannesburg. This was the final practice session for the England team as head coach Chris Silverwood hinted at an all pace attack including Ben Stokes.
ECB releases a statement with respect to Ben Stokes
“Ben Stokes’s father, Ged, was admitted to hospital on Monday in Johannesburg after suffering a serious illness. He remains in a critical condition. The all-rounder will not be at England’s training session at SuperSport Park this afternoon so that he can be at his father’s bedside,” read a statement released by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on eve of Christmas Day.
Statement: Ben Stokes
➡️ https://t.co/EBdrljIPRF pic.twitter.com/hmsZKRPVRD
— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) December 24, 2019
This means that Stokes’ participation in the first Test is in serious doubt now. The all-rounder has rushed to the hospital to be at his father’s bedside along with other members of the Stokes family. This is a piece of sad news that ends one of the most successful years for Ben Stokes where he starred in England’s 2019 World Cup win and was their main hero as they drew the Ashes series at home. His achievements led him to be given the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.
Gerard Stokes is a former rugby player and coach and his career meant that his family moved to Cumbria before Ben was born and ensured his son would become an England superstar rather than one for New Zealand. Stokes senior received support from an England tour party enlarged by a number of families who have traveled to South Africa for Christmas. The England camp was in shock to hear the news for one of the most popular members of the England cricket squad.
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